No Parking, Not Ever. Well OK, Just To Unload

By Pat Piper

Depending on where you live, local government clicks a stopwatch when you park the boat trailer after a day on the water. What's a boater to do?

Photo of a boat trailer parked on a VA streetA boat can be parked on a residential street in Arlington, Virginia for only 72 hours before it has to be moved.

Many property managers hired by homeowner associations face the issue of "unsightly" boat trailers or RVs parked on residential streets. Vickie Gaskill, who served as national president of the National Association of Resident Property Managers last year, says this isn't a new trend at all. "It's been my experience that there are very few associations that allow boat, trailer, or RV parking within their community," she notes. "Most of the time this is addressed in the Governing Documents (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions; By Laws; and Rules and Regulations) for the association. To be honest, it's my opinion that developers put this verbiage in the documents when forming the association to make it more attractive for potential purchasers. They appear to be of the belief that people don't want to live in a community where every other house has a boat or recreational vehicle parked in front of it. And to some extent, that's very true."

But this isn't to say boat or recreational vehicle owners aren't welcome; they most certainly are. Just don't bring the you-know-what home except to load and unload, and even then for only a select amount of time.

Photo of boat and trailer parked in front of a home.jpgA boat and trailer in Ft. Lauderdale are allowed in front of a home but not on the street.

In Madison, Wisconsin, and Brunswick, Ohio, a boat trailer can remain on the property for no more than 48 hours. After that amount of time, it has to be moved. In Hermeston, Oregon, a trailer is allowed to be in a driveway for a maximum of 72 hours. While the allowable time varies in cities and towns throughout the country, the central issue remains: people don't want to see these things in their neighborhood or, if children are present, there is concern a parked boat trailer on the street blocks the view of a driver should a child run out after an errant baseball or toy.

Right now in North Reddington Beach, Florida (south of Clearwater), Mayor Bill Queen is overseeing a change to no more than 48 hours over any seven-day period in the length of time a boat trailer (or RV) can be parked for unloading or loading. "As far as the rules regarding the storage of trailers," he tells BoatUS Trailering, "this was exactly what the residents requested. They like the uncluttered look and several adjacent neighborhoods do not have these rules and the aesthetic difference is extreme."

In Anderson, South Carolina, the Stone Creek Cove Homeowners Association allows boat trailers to be parked for seven days. After that, a "nuisance reminder" kicks in and the trailer has to be moved. The good news is the association provides a storage area for residents at no cost.

Vickie Gaskill says that's out of the ordinary but provides an easy option for residents. "I've seen some communities that have taken a portion of the common area of the association, fenced it off, and allowed homeowners to park their recreational vehicles in the enclosed fenced in area," she says. "Sometimes there's a rental fee for being allowed to park in this type of RV lot. Also, many times there's only so many parking spaces so the parking is on a first-come, first-served basis."

Carol Robin of The Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, an umbrella organization that provides evaluations for local issues that affect numerous cities and towns in Washington state, says the issue of recreational vehicle parking, including boat trailers, is a common topic in local government.

Photo of a boat parked on the streetWhile more and more homeowner associations and cities are saying "no parking" to families with boat trailers, a boat and trailer in North beach, Maryland has no parking restrictions at all. That's the Chesapeake Bay just down the street.

"Most cities require boats to be stored off-street and to be sight screened, meaning parked to the side of or behind a residence," she observes. "Some allow temporary on-street parking of a short duration. For example, Tacoma allows a maximum of seven calendar days for a vehicle, boat trailer, recreation trailer, camper, or other licensed or unlicensed vehicle or device on the street." Just this year, the seven-day rule was fine tuned on the other side of the country, in North Redington Beach, Florida. There, Mayor Bill Queen says while many communities would be happy to provide a storage area for trailers, most of the time that parcel of land is either too costly or doesn't exist. "As far as finding a storage area for trailers and RVs, there are many commercial businesses that offer this service, but I agree that it would be wonderful to have a community storage area. There are not many beach communities with that type of land luxury."

One person keeping an eye on the rules coming from homeowner associations in and around Vista, California, is Karl Gailey. Seeing a potential market developing, he built the North County RV and Boat Storage facility, which opened in March of this year. "Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and other regulatory agencies have definitely increased the need for storage facilities," he says. "But our business model is not solely based on those customers. Southern California's shrinking lot size of new home development may have more of an impact than rules and regulations. In another light, the size of RVs have grown as customers demand larger RVs than the old camping teardrops. We are tailoring our storage to customers who have more needs and fewer options." 

This article was published in the Summer 2011 issue of Trailering Magazine.


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